In the digital world of the 21st century, we interact with more people on a daily basis than our ancestors did their in their entire lives. We have friends, followers, colleagues, and family members all connected to our phones and computers through a variety of accounts and platforms. It’s madness.
But if you house all of your contacts from all platforms in one central location, like Google Contacts or the Apple iCloud, you can better manage your full spectrum of friends, colleagues, and associates. Once you’ve got this primary rolodex in place, it’s time to take your networking to the next level. Here are a few tips for optimizing and maintaining one of the most valuable achievements of our era: your network.
Sync Your Smartphone
You can only sync your Apple contacts with an Apple phone, but you can sync a Google contacts database either both Apple and Android devices. Having them all with you while you’re on the move is important. It’s the whole point, really.
Organize Contacts into Groups
You don’t really care about your coworkers on the weekends or vacation and you only talk to that creepy uncle once a year so there’s an obvious need to segment all of your known associates into relevant groups. These can be simple distinctions like Family, Friends, Colleagues, Chicks I Met at Starbucks.
*Pro Tip: If you travel and have contacts in multiple cities, use a group for each city. Tag all of your contacts in New York with NYC so that whenever you head back to the Big Apple you can quickly see who’s available to meet for a Coney dog.
Congratulate and Celebrate
Linked In can tell you when someone in your network gets a promotion or job change. That’s a great time to issue a congratulations message. Facebook is great with birthday reminders and it never hurts to join the crowd of people that pummel your buddy’s wall with identical “Happy Birthday” posts. Staying in touch means reaching out to people at the right moments. Good networking is monitoring and reminding yourself to hit these key moments and a centralized contact database, synced monthly with Linked In and Facebook, can improve your overall networking and partnership skills.
In today’s world, success is about who you know. Everyone knows someone. In fact, we all know an enormous number of people, we’re all connected! Learning to manage this bold new world of hyper-connectivity and shifting tribes is part of the fun of living through the Millennium. It all comes down to being a good friend and ally to the people in your network. No digital tool or platform can replace actual face-to-face interaction with real people.
So go out and hug someone.
With their permission, of course.